Friday, June 12, 2020

A medical expert warns we are "inviting disaster" by failing to practice social distancing, 24Fitness closes abruptly, LAX allow marijuana at the airport and a discussion on race at a local church

Welcome to Bakersfield Observed. Our mission is to celebrate life in Kern County by focusing on newsmakers and events and the local characters who make this community such a special place. The views expressed here are strictly my own and do not represent any other person or organization.

 * ... COVID WARNING: Coronavirus cases are on the rise and if we don't continue to practice social distancing we are "inviting disaster." That's the word from Dr. Brij Bhambi of Centric Health, who said wearing a mask in public should be seen as a "charitable act" that puts the health of others
before your own. For Kern County, Bhambi said a big problem is that a large percentage of our younger people have underlying health issues brought on by obesity, Diabetes and unhealthy lifestyles. That means the virus will spread more quickly in a population that should otherwise be healthy.

 * ... 24 HOUR FITNESS: If you are a member of 24 Hour Fitness, you need to look for another gym. The popular fitness club, long a fixture in Bakersfield, abruptly closed two Bakersfield locations after firing employees and contractors on an automated telephone call. That's right, employees were told to call into a meeting where an automated message informed them they were all laid off. (photo by Jolie Brouttier)

 * ... UNITY MEETING: Hats off to the coordinators of the Unity in the Community meeting at St. Peter's Church Thursday evening, an excellent start on the conversation about race in Kern County. Michael Bowers, vice president of Centric Health, helped coordinate the community meeting along with NaTesha Johnson, Kelly Gafford Gibbons and Traco Matthews. These are difficult conversations, but open meetings like this, where everyone has a seat at the table, are important to get the conversation going.

 * ... LET'S TALK RACE: Next week, on Tuesday, I will host another conversation about race and "white privilege" when Michael Burroughs and Keith Wolaridge join me on KERN NewsTalk 96.1 FM for an open ended discussion. Burroughs is the director of the Kegley Institute of Ethics at CSUB and Wolaridge is a trustee with the Panama Buena Vista School District. The conversation starts at 1:30 p.m. next Tuesday, June 16.

* ... POT AT LAX: Are you ready to travel with your medicinal marijuana? Up until now, it has been strictly forbidden to carry marijuana into a U.S. airport, or to store in in your luggage. But now Los Angeles International Airport, better known as LAX, has announced that it will permit travelers to bring small amounts of legal marijuana through security in their carry-on bags. LAX is honoring the 2016 law that allows people to possess small amounts of pot, and is allowing travelers over the age of 21 to enter the airport and pass through security with the permitted amounts of marijuana. "The Los Angeles Airport Police Department will allow passengers to travel through LAX with up to 28.5 grams of marijuana and 8 grams of concentrated marijuana," reads a statement on LAX's official website, which was posted in September 2018.

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: Masks hanging from the rearview mirror are the new fuzzy dice."

 * ... GOOD ADVICE: I spotted this bit of good advice on Facebook from my friend Louis Gill, head of the Bakersfield Homeless Center: "What was... is done.  Change is here. Lean into it and help make something better."

 * ... MEMORIES: Enjoy these classic pictures of Bakersfield courtesy of the Bakersfield of Old Facebook page.

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